Canadian teachers visit tech-friendly Belton schools
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The Belton Independent School District received some international attention Wednesday.
A group of Canadian educators visited Belton ISD to see how the different schools have incorporated iPads into their teaching.
The program has created a different kind of school environment that few are accustomed too. There are no lockers and the students use fewer books.
"Coming from a school that was much, much older—I would consider in the dark age—and then coming here, it was a lot different watching kids walking around with their iPads,” math teacher Nat Giambalvo said.
Nearly 4,000 iPads were issued to the teachers and students in Belton ISD. At the beginning of the school year students pay a 30 dollar rental fee.
"Homework grades are definitely going up,” Giambalvo said. “It's because they are not losing paper. I'm able to make my assignments on here and send it to them. It's not getting stuffed in their backpacks and getting lost."
That success has caught international attention. The Canadian educators are also looking for a new way to engage their students.
"It's definitely the way we have to go to engage students in their learning,” Lisa Larente, a school principal in Canada, said. “It was nice to see all the practical examples they had and the good practices they had in place and that's really why we came here."
Even at home, the technology is helping students remain focused on their schoolwork.
"There are kids who are easily distracted are actually more engaged because they have this great device to help them learn instead of sitting and listening,” Terice Schenider, instructional technology coordinator, said.
Belton ISD is open to hosting more tours for any visitors curious about their program.
"They just want a road map to do it,” Schneider said. “And they want to see someone that's doing it and succeeding."